Investing in off-the-shelf products isn’t the only option available to businesses. Custom software development is a great way of ensuring that your solution perfectly meets the needs of your target audience and that it’s unique. Learn about the benefits of customer software development and how to find the right partner.
Table of contents
- Custom software development definition
- The benefits of custom software development
- Lower integration costs
- Lower development costs over time
- Maintenance can be conducted in-house
- Accountability on behalf of the partner
- Is custom software development the right fit for me?
- How to choose the best software development company?
- Business expertise
- The right technology stack
- Covers the entire product development journey
- Transparent timeline and pricing
- Top security standards
- The right time zone
- Stable, well-regulated country
- Good English skills
With the variety of frameworks and libraries available, it may appear that it’s possible to create any kind of solution through ready-to-use components. And yet, it’s not entirely the case. There are still several reasons why companies might favor custom software development over off-the-shelf solutions.
In the following article, we’ll take a look at what customer software development is, what benefits it provides for businesses, and how you can select the best software development company.
Custom software development definition
Custom software development refers to designing and building software applications with a specific target group in mind. It addresses their needs more effectively than off-the-shelf solutions. It can be developed by external software partners or in-house.
Custom software development is created through a step-by-step approach, as specified below:
- Stage 1: Idea – you come up with an idea for a service, that needs evaluation
- Stage 2: Discover – with a team of experts, you assess the idea through conducting research and identify the market opportunity
- Stage 3: Design – based on your insights from Stage 1 & 2, you create a list of product requirements and your design team works on the prototype
- Stage 4: Define – at this stage, you build a product roadmap and prioritize the features for your MVP
- Stage 5: Deliver – the product is built by software developers in iterations
- Stage 6: MVP launch – prior to the launch, your team tests the MVP and applies any required changes.
Custom software is becoming a more popular solution for several reasons – firstly, it allows you to create unique solutions that stand out on the market. This isn’t always possible if you create software based on ready-to-use frameworks and libraries. Secondly, in the dynamic digital world, custom software leaves you more flexibility, as discussed in detail in the following section.
The benefits of custom software development
Let’s take a look at the top advantages of creating custom software.
In short – when you create custom solutions, you own your software. This means that you can license it or sell it to other organizations, if it proves to be successful. From a business point of view, it’s important to fully own the product you create rather than resell or repackage someone else’s solution. That said, creating custom software also gives you independence. You decide how you want to develop the product, and you’re not dependent on any third parties. As a result, you can avoid any potential price rises for product licensing.
The ability to scale your tech solution may have an immense impact on your business growth. By creating custom software, you retain a high level of technological independence. This means that you are less likely, for instance, to encounter potential ‘blockers’ resulting from changes in the library or frameworks you use. Keep in mind that, as your business grows, you might need to update or change your software accordingly – and there’s no better way, than through custom software. For instance, one of Freeport Metrics’ clients, food procurement platform Forager, started off as a local solution that connected Maine-based farmers and producers with grocers, restaurants, and distributors. Upon market success, however, they decided to expand to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. Scaling their platform to cater to the new regions was feasible thanks to the platform’s custom software solution.
Creating a one-of-a-kind product
By leveraging custom software development, you create a unique solution, on your own terms. This will be especially beneficial if you’re planning to build a completely new product or service, unlike anything else out there. Custom development will also be the perfect method for you, if you the frameworks and libraries online don’t seem to fit your product well.
Lower integration costs
Similarly to the previous point, your software’s ability to integrate with your customer’s tool stack is also one of the key requirements. Custom software can be designed so that it integrates perfectly with the environment you specify.
Lower development costs over time
While custom software development might initially seem like the more costly solution than off-the shelf software, it doesn’t require long-term recurring payments. Despite the higher costs upfront, however, the investment will pay off over time.
Maintenance can be as low as for off-the-shelf software
What’s more, the costs associated with custom software development could even be lower, because you avoid ongoing license expenses. Many software companies have built and successfully sold their product to dozens of clients, all the while keeping development costs to an absolute minimum for months or even years. Therefore, many companies can maintain existing legacy systems and products for a number of years.
Accountability on behalf of the partner
With custom software, comes a higher level of accountability from the team who work on it. If you outsource your software development to an external partner, they will cooperate with you on the roadmap and specific deadlines for both iterations and project milestones. As a result, you have more control over the timely delivery of your solution.
Now, here’s a question you might be asking yourself:
Is custom software development the right fit for me?
Below we’ve created a checklist that will help you verify whether you’d benefit from such an approach to software development:
- The product or service you want to build is unique. For example, you’re planning to create an entirely new solution on the market, or you can’t seem to find the right frameworks and libraries that would do the job for you.
- You did your best to avoid custom software development, linking together many products/services from various vendors, but your licensing costs are out of control.. Or vendors are not supporting their products in a way that meets your changing business needs.
- Your business needs have changed and you need to further customize your product; for example, you wish to:
- go through a digital transformation
- update your solution, for example, through legacy system modernization
- introduce process automation
- customize your product to stand out from your competitors.
- You already have a custom software that needs to be re-written or enable totally new features sets. For analytics or mobile devices.
- Your product is complex and you want to ensure it’s scalable as time goes by. For instance, if you find yourself in need of integrating with a niche product or service, you don’t want to be limited by any off-the-shelf solutions you’ve built your product around.
- You work in a highly regulated industry, like healthcare or finance.
- You don’t have an in-house development team.
- You’re responsible for business growth but don’t have product ownership skills.
Note: If you’re still unsure whether custom software development services would be suitable for you, reach out and we’ll discuss your needs!
How to choose the best software development company
If you’re not sure whether you’d like to create an in-house team for your project, below are a few things to look for in a custom software development company.
Start off by checking if your potential partner has experience in your industry or similar products. This will help you avoid common mistakes based on the software company’s know-how.
The right technology stack
Look for companies that have experience in the language/framework you’re considering. If it’s unclear which technology you should work with, choose a company that can help you evaluate your concept and select the best solution for your project.
Covers the entire product development journey
A reliable partner will be able to take you from concept to market launch. They will take ownership of the project, so you won’t need to worry that they’re wasting resources or your time. Furthermore, an experienced team will know which decisions they can make themselves, and which they should run by you first.
A great example is how we at Freeport Metrics approached our cooperation with global charity Smile Train, who were looking to update their solution. We started off by evaluating the current system and assessed the technological requirements, which included a security audit and risk analysis. Throughout our work together, we advised Smile Team on the right software development processes, deployment, and testing practices. By taking initiative, we saved the charity from rebuilding the product, saving them from substantial software development costs.
Transparent timeline & pricing
Many companies follow an Agile workflow. However, few companies will prove to have a smart approach to the methodology, and the deadlines and costs won’t be clear. What makes Freeport Metrics unique is that you will receive a fixed delivery date and project cost upfront.
Top security standards
In recent years, the number of security breaches has soared in digital products. Therefore, it’s imperative that you choose a partner who can guarantee data security. For instance, this can mean HIPAA compliance, firewalls, security administrators, etc. Also, make sure that the software partner can prove that their staff always work on secure equipment.
Lastly, check whether the company you want to go in business with is insured and legally reachable. Do they have professional liability insurance? Also, even if their developers are based abroad, do they have a U.S. office you can reach at all times?
The right timezone
From a pragmatic standpoint, if you’re looking for partners from outside the U.S., you need to make sure they’re based in the right time zone. If you’re thinking of outsourcing to a different country, consider Poland. There’s only a six-hour difference between Poland and the East Coast. Furthermore, Polish developers are in the top 3 best developers worldwide, falling solely behind Russia and China.
Stable, well-regulated country
Choose a country that is subject not only to national, but also international regulations. For instance, the European Union imposes high security requirements on all member states. This means that you won’t have to worry about your work being stolen, or not being able to seek legal actions in case of any problems.
Good English skills
Another important aspect is the language proficiency of your technological partner. Once again, Poland is a good option to consider when looking for a software company. According to the English Proficiency Index, Poland has a very high proficiency score, and is placed on the 16th position out of 100 countries evaluated.
There are many reasons why you should consider custom software development for your project. Among others, it offers you independence, scalability, and accountability which can’t be encountered if you select off-the-shelf software solutions.
If you’re looking for custom software development services, here’s what to keep an eye out on in a potential partner:
- Highest security standards
- Business expertise and the right technology stack
- Readiness to take you through the entire product development journey, from ideation to market launch
- The right time zone, legal accountability, and English proficiency skills.
Looking for a custom software development company? Reach out to Freeport Metrics – give us a call or send us a message, and let’s discuss your business needs, project blockers or simply chat about your digital products.